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18-wheeler steals show at AWS re: Invent 2016

November 30, 2016  

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There was no shortage of announcements from Andy Jassy today during an almost three-hour keynote at AWS re: Invent 2016 in Las Vegas today, but it was the arrival of an 18-wheeler that took centre stage, almost literally.

The arrival of the transport truck, which stopped very near the stage at the Sands Convention Centre, where the firm’s CEO spoke was no prop for it heralded the arrival of a new AWS service called Snowmobile.

According to the company, “Snowmobile is an exabyte-scale data transfer service used to move extremely large amounts of data to AWS. You can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile, a 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container, pulled by a semi-trailer truck. Snowmobile makes it easy to move massive volumes of data to the cloud, including video libraries, image repositories, or even a complete data centre migration. Transferring data with Snowmobile is secure, fast and cost effective.”

After an initial assessment, a Snowmobile will be transported to a customer’s data center and AWS personnel will configure it for you so it can be accessed as a network storage target.

In a blog posted today, Jeff Barr, director of AWS evangelism, wrote that “moving large amounts of on-premises data to the cloud as part of a migration effort is still more challenging than it should be. Even with high-end connections, moving petabytes or exabytes of film vaults, financial records, satellite imagery, or scientific data across the Internet can take years or decades.  On the business side, adding new networking or better connectivity to data centers that are scheduled to be decommissioned after a migration is expensive and hard to justify.

“Each Snowmobile includes a network cable connected to a high-speed switch capable of supporting 1 Tb/second of data transfer spread across multiple 40 Gb/second connections. Assuming that your existing network can transfer data at that rate, you can fill a Snowmobile in about 10 days.”

Further coverage from the conference will appear soon.